A while ago I saw Lowri from FlowFree advertise a ‘Looptastic’ course at HPP. Having bought a playboat in lockdown, learning how to loop it has been one of my goals over the last year. Whilst I have made improvements off the back of tips from kind friends, I still have a long way to go. Having considered getting some freestyle coaching for a while – this course looked like the perfect one for me! This weekend my highly anticipated day of learning to loop with Lowri took place and I wanted to share it on here!
A year ago I received an email from the lovely Cadi at British Canoeing, letting me know that I had been selected to be one of this year’s ten #ShePaddles ambassadors. I had been happily surprised and equally humbled to find out I had been chosen. A year later and I would like to take the opportunity to reflect on why I applied to be an ambassador in the first place and my experiences so far.
‘I have a plan and I need people to do it. I think you could be one of those people…’ This was a message I received from my friend James Ibbotson 3 days before Christmas 2020. The plan? Paddling for 24 hours on the Nottingham loop, our local 15km loop down the river Trent and back up the canal. All in aid of raising money for the mental health charity Mind.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, of course I said yes! Also joining us would be good friends and local paddlers Sam Valman and Matt Stephenson. On the 3rd/4th April 2021, we carried out this plan and managed to raise over £4000 for Mind. This article is a summary of our 24 hour paddling challenge.
In one week’s time I will be paddling flat water for 24 hours in order to raise money for Mind. When my friend James Ibbotson asked me to be part of this charity challenge at Christmas, I had very little flat water experience. The hour back up the Llangollen canal when paddling the river Dee is usually enough to remind me why I paddle whitewater and not flat water! So after saying yes to the challenge, I decided I quickly needed to establish a training plan to make sure I was prepared.
With offers of help from an overwhelming number of people, friends and strangers alike, I came up with a training plan. For the last 3 months I have tried my hardest to stick to that plan. In this article I want to outline everything I have done to go from being someone with minimal flat water experience to (hopefully) being able to paddle it for 24 hours next weekend!
Since he started kayaking 15 years ago Matt has developed into one of the UK’s most notoriously stylish paddlers and is affectionately referred to by friends as a ‘kayaking ninja’. Matt is well known for his love of downriver freestyle but also his expedition paddling. I’m still not sure which is cooler: the fact that Matt has paddled in remote Madagascar or that he once took a hand roll during the Green race.
Matt’s passion for the sport is infectious and he has combined his enthusiasm and his love of teaching to start a coaching business to help others to progress their skills in the sport, specialising in his favourite discipline – downriver freestyle. In this article, Matt discusses his approach to coaching and how you can make the most of your coaching sessions.
Whether you are a complete beginner or an internationally regarded expert – people will always share advice with you on how to improve your paddling. I’ve been paddling for 6 years and I could not even begin to list all of the pieces of advice I’ve been given.
Some tips however have really stuck with me as they made such a positive impact on my paddling. These were tips that permanently changed the way I approached an aspect of my paddling and made a clear impact on my overall progression as a paddler. Read on to find out what they were!
There is no doubt that 2020 has been a very strange year and for many a very challenging year too. Every new year I like to reflect on how the previous year has gone and look to learn from it as I move into the new year. It would be easy to just write off 2020 but actually on reflection, I found so many positive things that I could take away from this year. This article is a reflection of my own positive 2020 experiences.
It is the season of giving and what better gift to give than a paddling one! Whether you are searching for something for a loved one or a treat for yourself – hopefully this article may give you some ideas. This list doesn’t include the key pieces of gear that you need to engage in a paddlesport but instead the nice little extras that make it that bit more enjoyable. So sit back and enjoy as I take you through my top 5 nice little extra paddling related items.
This week’s blog article has been written by guest author Tom Clare. Tom is a well known photographer and kayaker in UK kayaking circles. If you have attended a UK kayaking event in recent years or even just paddle at HPP regularly you have more than likely had your photo taken by Tom. Tom is a professional photographer but his real passion for photos lies in extreme sports. So I have asked Tom to write a guest article about his top tips for getting better paddling photos. Enjoy!
Back in April in the middle of the first global lockdown, I wrote an article called ‘Beating the Covid-19 blues‘. This article looked at things you could be doing as a kayaker to keep you occupied during lockdown. Considering that England has now entered a second national lockdown and restrictions are tightening in other areas around the world, I wanted to write another article with a slightly different focus. This article is going to explore activities that you can engage in OFF the water which will help you once you are back ON the water. Hopefully some of these suggestions will be helpful for you and applicable to more sports than just kayaking!